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October 2, 09

NEWS / Los Angeles CBP Intercepts Asian Gypsy Moths

Los Angeles — U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialists at Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport intercepted five containers infested with Asian Gypsy Moths’ egg masses on four different occasions in September.

The Asian Gypsy Moth is a voracious pest that poses a major threat to forest habitants in North America. These moths are not found in the United States. If they were to enter the U.S. and become established, each female moth could lay egg masses that yield hundreds of voracious caterpillars with appetites for more than 500 species of trees and shrubs. The females are active fliers and can fly long distances, up to 25 miles, which makes it probable that it could quickly infest and spread throughout the United States.

Kevin Weeks, director of Field Operations in Los Angeles said, “These interceptions are significant as this moth could be detrimental to our trees and shrubs. CBP agriculture specialists play an active role in protecting the U.S. agriculture industry by preventing the introduction of harmful pests like this one into the country.”

CBP agriculture specialists while conducting inspections at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport noticed egg masses on the outside of the containers. Samples were collected and sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for identification. USDA determined the egg masses were Asian Gypsy Moths.

CBP agriculture specialists are trained to inspect cargo at ports of entry to prevent the entry of prohibited agriculture items that can host many pests. The cargo containers are also inspected for possible pest hitchhikers or egg masses. All containers that were contaminated were treated before they were allowed to leave the seaport.




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